Author Topic: Off topic but could use a little coaching help  (Read 1458 times)

Online jknezek

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Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« on: October 04, 2018, 01:41:06 pm »
Alright guys... I know many of us played at various levels and I'm looking for some coaching help from the brain trust if anyone wants to help. I'm coaching littles, which I've done for the last 6 seasons. We are up to the U8 level and of my 9 kids, I've only got 2 or 3 that have figured out the mechanics of pulling their leg back, locking their ankle, and swinging through the ball for power. I'm not particularly worried about toes right now, though we talk about it, I just need them to understand the locking and swinging motion.

Developmentally, I'm not surprised that I don't have a lot that have picked this up, but I'd like to get any tips or tricks you remember from your own youth to see if I can get a few more over the hump.

What made an impression when you first learned to kick for power? For example, I remember a soccer camp where a counselor from T&T worked with me and what stuck was that if you swing through properly, your plant foot will either try to lift or hop from the force. Mostly an exaggeration, but understanding that was what was required got me moving in the right direction. It is not, however, an explanation that is resonating with many of my own players.

Thoughts or suggestions? What sticks out? What basic drill got you moving in the right direction?

Offline blooter442

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 02:02:50 pm »
I was never a competitive player myself, but I've been told that I have a pretty good shot for a rec league player.

When I first learned to play (at age 16, pretty late by most USA soccer standards) my cleats had laces down the center. We used to refer to power shots as "laces" shots. After starting out usually trying to curl the ball when I shot, my inclination now was to try to hit the ball with my laces.

What I came to realize was that the more surface area that you hit the ball with from your foot, the more power the shot generally has. It's like if you took a sledgehammer and hit a ball with the edge of the hammer; it would probably spin but not get much forward movement. Hit the ball with the entire sledgehammer, though, and it moves much more. I know that might be a bit far off to a nine-year-old, but I think they might understand that the more of your foot hits the ball, the more power you'll get when you hit it. And, in order to get that, you want to focus on locking your ankle, because that's how (in my experience) you get the best contact on the ball. How I usually lock my ankle is to focus on pointing my toe as far as it will go (without incurring harm, of course) when starting the follow-through.

A good drill I've found when showing friends how to shoot laces (I'm not an expert or professional by any stretch) is that even a "light" shot, when hit correctly with laces, will get some decent speed on it. Add a powerful follow-through to it and you get a real "blooter." Focus on getting the right contact first; the follow-through can come later.
He's our center half, he's our number four, watch him defend, and we watch him score, he'll pass the ball, calm as you like, he's Virgil van Dijk, he's Virgil van Dijk.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2018, 02:03:51 pm »
I've got U10 kids who can't figure this out ... passing drills can be painful. Several, including my son, think they have to have their legs locked straight. Drives me insane.

And for kicking... I can't get them to keep their toes down to save my life. Though, I know it took me awhile to learn that when I played.

I'm not the head coach, so I have tried not to step on toes ... but I need to start looking for some good drills or something.

That said, I saw a fascinating story on 60 Minutes or E:60 (they blur together sometimes)... about the American in Japan who has ideas that would make you change your thinking about worrying about kicking (striking) the ball.
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Online jknezek

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2018, 02:18:29 pm »
The amazing thing about this is the new U.S. soccer coaching classes don't even address these kinds of things anymore. They don't address technique much at all. I like the general framework, but I've found when trying to apply it over the last 2 years that it is lacking at least for younger kids who are still learning the basics.

I've been looking online and there is precious little. A few videos, one of which I found where you try and pull up on their toes. May try that tonight. But I still think, especially for U8s, I need something that is going to catch in their minds.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2018, 02:33:00 pm »
The amazing thing about this is the new U.S. soccer coaching classes don't even address these kinds of things anymore. They don't address technique much at all. I like the general framework, but I've found when trying to apply it over the last 2 years that it is lacking at least for younger kids who are still learning the basics.

I've been looking online and there is precious little. A few videos, one of which I found where you try and pull up on their toes. May try that tonight. But I still think, especially for U8s, I need something that is going to catch in their minds.

I am beyond frustrated with US Soccer. The story I watched addressed how they are barely giving this American's ideas a chance to work.
Host of Hoopsville. USBWA Executive Board member. Broadcast Director for D3sports.com. Broadcaster for NCAA.com & several colleges. PA Announcer for Gophers & Brigade. Follow me on Twitter: @davemchugh or @d3hoopsville.

Online jknezek

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2018, 02:46:08 pm »
The amazing thing about this is the new U.S. soccer coaching classes don't even address these kinds of things anymore. They don't address technique much at all. I like the general framework, but I've found when trying to apply it over the last 2 years that it is lacking at least for younger kids who are still learning the basics.

I've been looking online and there is precious little. A few videos, one of which I found where you try and pull up on their toes. May try that tonight. But I still think, especially for U8s, I need something that is going to catch in their minds.

I am beyond frustrated with US Soccer. The story I watched addressed how they are barely giving this American's ideas a chance to work.

Are you talking about Tom Byer?

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2018, 03:01:01 pm »
The amazing thing about this is the new U.S. soccer coaching classes don't even address these kinds of things anymore. They don't address technique much at all. I like the general framework, but I've found when trying to apply it over the last 2 years that it is lacking at least for younger kids who are still learning the basics.

I've been looking online and there is precious little. A few videos, one of which I found where you try and pull up on their toes. May try that tonight. But I still think, especially for U8s, I need something that is going to catch in their minds.

I am beyond frustrated with US Soccer. The story I watched addressed how they are barely giving this American's ideas a chance to work.

Are you talking about Tom Byer?

Yes. It was actually Real Sports about a year ago (or beginning of this year) did a fascinating story about him and the breakdowns at US Soccer (to some degree).
Host of Hoopsville. USBWA Executive Board member. Broadcast Director for D3sports.com. Broadcaster for NCAA.com & several colleges. PA Announcer for Gophers & Brigade. Follow me on Twitter: @davemchugh or @d3hoopsville.

Offline Domino1195

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2018, 03:24:01 pm »
I did purchase the Coever DVD's when my son got to middle school.  I loved the drills - lots of focus on improving quickness.  I see they offer a First Skills program now - don't know anything about it but here's the link:  http://soccerfirstskills.com/


Offline PaulNewman

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2018, 05:31:17 pm »
Ah, the memories. Loved the Coerver tapes....I knew I was deep in when I bought the Pele training video that included him juggling grapefruits, and I immediately went to the store and bought some grapefruits. It's almost like when you're going through it you already realize who much you're gonna miss it.  Nothing much is better than coaching  a team with your kid on it, with all the dreams of what might be ahead of him/her/you.

Offline gustiefan04

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2018, 08:20:38 pm »
Check out Volgelsinger Soccer Academy. Thereís a great focus on technical skills, especially striking the ball. Lots of drills  to work on mechanics without actually striking the ball.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 08:27:19 pm by gustiefan04 »

Offline TwoLeftFeet

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2018, 12:55:13 am »
As an alternative to the Courver training, you could also check out the Soccer U training videos (http://www.socceru.com). I bought their DVD set about 10 years ago to work with my then U10 age player, and used it until around U13.  It covers how to teach individual technical skills to both young beginners as well as intermediate level players.  The first DVD, "Blast the Ball", focuses solely on developing kicking skills.  The remaining five DVDs cover a range of technical skills. The full list of lessons can be found here: http://www.socceru.com/chapters-socceru.  You can still buy the DVD set, but they are also now freely available online.  I had also looked at the coerver training videos, but being a no-nothing soccer dad, did not find them useful to my situation.  I found the Soccer U videos to be well done, and thought they did a good job of breaking down and explaining how to teach the skills.  They are designed to train the trainer, not so much for players; but I could see an older, exceptionally motivated player might have the attention span to work through them.  I do recall spending a lot of time reviewing the material and trying to distill it all down to digestible portions that I could work with and keep it fun.

Dave mentioned about U10 players having difficulty with this, and I have to say that U8 seems young to be emphasizing this. I know my 10 year old took about a month to start getting the hang of it, and many more months to develop consistency. You have to keep it fun, and you don't want to be creating a lot of frustration by introducing skills too early.  That being said, you may want to watch through the "Blast the Ball" lessons (also SoccerU lesson #38, which is an addendum to the Blast the Ball lessons) and see what you think.

Online jknezek

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2018, 09:38:38 am »
Check out Volgelsinger Soccer Academy. Thereís a great focus on technical skills, especially striking the ball. Lots of drills  to work on mechanics without actually striking the ball.

Man does that bring back memories. I used to spend a week or two every summer at a sleep away Volgelsinger Academy in CT in junior high and the first 2 years of high school. That was a good soccer camp. I'll look that up thanks.

Online jknezek

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2018, 09:39:43 am »
As an alternative to the Courver training, you could also check out the Soccer U training videos (http://www.socceru.com). I bought their DVD set about 10 years ago to work with my then U10 age player, and used it until around U13.  It covers how to teach individual technical skills to both young beginners as well as intermediate level players.  The first DVD, "Blast the Ball", focuses solely on developing kicking skills.  The remaining five DVDs cover a range of technical skills. The full list of lessons can be found here: http://www.socceru.com/chapters-socceru.  You can still buy the DVD set, but they are also now freely available online.  I had also looked at the coerver training videos, but being a no-nothing soccer dad, did not find them useful to my situation.  I found the Soccer U videos to be well done, and thought they did a good job of breaking down and explaining how to teach the skills.  They are designed to train the trainer, not so much for players; but I could see an older, exceptionally motivated player might have the attention span to work through them.  I do recall spending a lot of time reviewing the material and trying to distill it all down to digestible portions that I could work with and keep it fun.

Dave mentioned about U10 players having difficulty with this, and I have to say that U8 seems young to be emphasizing this. I know my 10 year old took about a month to start getting the hang of it, and many more months to develop consistency. You have to keep it fun, and you don't want to be creating a lot of frustration by introducing skills too early.  That being said, you may want to watch through the "Blast the Ball" lessons (also SoccerU lesson #38, which is an addendum to the Blast the Ball lessons) and see what you think.

Thanks. I'll look into these. At u8 it is definitely a bit ahead of the curve, which is why I'm not real fired up about getting them to stop using toes, I'm just trying to get them to lock ankles so the leg swings like a hammer instead of a pool noodle.

Offline gustiefan04

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2018, 10:11:54 am »
Check out Volgelsinger Soccer Academy. Thereís a great focus on technical skills, especially striking the ball. Lots of drills  to work on mechanics without actually striking the ball.

Man does that bring back memories. I used to spend a week or two every summer at a sleep away Volgelsinger Academy in CT in junior high and the first 2 years of high school. That was a good soccer camp. I'll look that up thanks.

I used to go to his camps as well but up in WI. It's good you're at least thinking about and introducing this stuff with the kids. Hopefully it keeps them from developing an "All-American Sh** Kick" as he called it...

Offline centerback

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Re: Off topic but could use a little coaching help
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2018, 04:25:33 pm »
I'm a lurker but couldn't help but reply to this one. I havenít coached for a while so Iím not sure if it will work with the age group. But it has worked with u10s if I remember correctly. I worry this might be too boring for U8s and you might just keep doing dribble tag and having fun with the ball. Dribbling / comfort with the ball and fun / love for the game are by far the most important things for that age group. But in case it helps here's a progression that seems to work.

Getting the form, just the leg and the ball:
Kids on their butts practicing the form, just lightly striking the ball without it leaving their hands. High quality demonstration by the coach. Coaching points are the leg stays fixed, swings at the hip only, leg bent, strike on the laces, no spin, etc.
Kids on their butts kick it out of their hands, try for no spin. Demonstration by the kids who are good at it (have them compete to demonstrate). Contest to see who can do it the most consecutive times catching it without moving their butt to catch it. Also gets funny with the kids toppling over trying to catch it.
Kids on their feet kicking it into the air, try for no spin. Demonstrations and repeat.
If theyíre doing well, have them try to do it twice in a row, no spin.

Kicking off the ground.
Then kicking in pairs. Try to get it in the air to their partner. Set up some cones so it can be a reasonable difference. Good ones demonstrate. Individual coaching from you and your assistant for the kids who arenít getting it. This will be sloppy but gets a lot of practice.
Make that a contest. Who can get the most consecutive in the air to their partner.
Finally two teams to goal to try to hit the net on the fly. First to 10, etc.

Might take a few sessions to get to the kicking it off the ground if youíre spending a lot of your practice time on unstructured play and have limited technical time.

Donít worry about weak foot to start, layer that in after most of them get it with the strong foot. Being comfortable with the form striking the ball out of the air and compounding in that is more important than being good at kicking it off the ground. That can come with time.

They wonít get it at first but if they like soccer and practice at home they should develop. You can announce contests for next week to see who can improve the most, get the most consecutive no spin juggles, etc.